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Tim Blake Interview

Tim Blake is one of progressive rock's most underrated keyboardists having played with Hawkwind, Gong as well as managing a solo career. Following the release of his latest solo offering, Tide Of The Century, I contacted Tim Blake to ask him a few questions regarding his past career, as well as his future plans.


Hi Tim, How are you?
Fine thank You, Nigel - Just back from a superb Concert in London as part of the Hawkwind Xmas Millenium party.

First of all, your nickname "Moonweed" has been around since your Gong days in the early seventies. Who is responsible for it?
Hi T Moonweed the favorite, penned, as with all Gong Nick Names, by Daevid Allen, who has quite a few himself !

And what about your other nickname, Gollum?
Not used since 1970 !

What project(s) are you currently working on?
I've finished the new record (Tide Of The Century) and am basically involved in it's promotion ! Together with Hawkwind I participated in HAWKESTRA in October and HAWKWIND in December I have really enjoyed these two large London concerts and enjoy the attentiveness surprisingly shown by the Hawk Audience - We are discussing doing more.
At the same time , I am recording a track with some Spanish friends José & Melly Abroix - we're doing this from a distance, as we have nether met ! I do a little 'computer  work' - mastering or artwork for some local artists here in Brittany too.

With what lineup are you currently touring?
Well - is Two concerts a tour? Synths -Computer and sometimes Piano - the set is very much 'Tide of the Century'

Have you been through the DPRP website?.....what was your opinion about it?
The bottom line is the number of visitors

What is your reaction to the DPRP review of your latest offering The Tide Of The Century?
Well I had hoped for more than 7/10 !

Your musical cv includes stints with Hawkwind and Gong. What memories do you have of those times?
Memories of Gong would take a thick book! But I have frequented Gong in the past 7 years quite a few times. One of the great things about the Hawkestra concerts was meeting up with all but one of the Hawkwind members I first helped to perform their first gig in '69 !

Ever thought of writing a book of your days with Gong and Hawkwind, as well as your solo years?
Thought Yes - as far as Gong is concerned, I think a film would be funnier ! "I survived psychedelic R&R !"

Regarding Hawkwind, your first encounter with them was as an engineer. Next time round, some years later, you were a member of the group. What difference did you see in the the group during these two different eras?
My first encounter with GONG too. It goes to show that engineering is a very creative process ! Both groups have been playing non stop for 31 years. The difference is that Hawkwind have produced hundreds of records during that time, and so its always very changeable and often different, although the recent gigs have been a panache of 31 years - Gong on the other hand, have only written 2 CD's worth of music since I stopped writing with them ! Every Time I have seen Gong play in the last 26 years they have been playing the same 72/75 titles - Hélàs without paying authors' royalties !

You speak of Gong with a bit of bitterness especially with regards to royalties, yet at the same time you have frequented the group quite a few times over the past years. Hasn't the problem been addressed?
NO. In fact I have only recently discovered that, at the same time as seemingly grouping together to sort out some of the stranger sides to our common business affaires, members of Gong have been performing copyright fraud for 28 years! I have not appeared with them since this discovery. I have have better things to do than to associate with cheap crooks & fraudsters !

What about Cyrille Verdeaux?
I found Cyrille a contract with Virgin and produced  his first album for him. I still hear from him via friends.

David Aellen?
Don't hear too much from Daevid these days.

Steve Hillage?
I regret very much no longer working with Steve. I saw him & Miquette playing with Rachid Taha a couple of years ago- it was Red Hot ! Some of his production work is fantastic, and in some of the RAI work, I can still hear the influence of my synthetic work in our "OM-ROCK" style !

Crystal Machine is considered to be one of the first touring groups to include a Light Show with lasers. Do you agree to that statement?
I certainly do.

Seeing that there is a  resurgence of many of the seventies groups/artists, is there a chance of a Crystal Machine reunion?
Yes indeed- but these days such incredible ways of using Light is VERY EXPENSIVE. Patrice and I still are in contact and I help him on his CHROMOLITHE and other systems.

You released 2 solo albums in the late seventies and then we had to wait over 10 years for another solo release. Following that we have had to wait nine years for The Tide Of The Century. Why?
I have been completely without music finance for years and years. I didn't like the way MAGICK turned out, preferring my studio work, so it's taken the time necessary to build my own recording facility. Shame groups like GONG are prepared to commit fraud to keep me financially unstable. They seem to have real reasons to be scared of me making a 'Comeback'.

Eight years till the next Tim Blake solo album?
Well I hope NOT.

The production of Magick led you to creating Le Studio Virtuel. What exactly is it?
LSV is a computer facility for music, performing multi-track recording, editing mastering on the D to D Digital format, and artwork preparation for covers. It was built after the investments from some 'concerned' fans - worried that it was possible to make so many records (Gong, Hawkwind & my own) without reaping ANY financial reward. As we could not afford to sue the fraudulent musicians, (particularly from GONG) we chose to make sure any future Tim Blake music belong to ME ! It is also a great tool to teach some of my techniques with.

In your own words could you briefly describe what each of your solo albums is about?
I use music to describe things !

What music do you currently listen to?
Greig- Debussy, Salif Keita, Rai, reggae but in very small quantities.

Are you of the opinion that progressive rock is staging a comeback especially thanks to the internet?
I don't think we can talk about 'comebacks' the bottom line here is the quantity of records sold - it's hundreds instead of 10s of thousands, but the internet does make communication between the interested parties a lot easier !

What are your favorite albums that you have contributed to?
I don't think favorite is appropriate !

What are your favorite all time albums?
That changes from time to time !

Any new bands/musicians that you think we should look out for?
A lot of very interesting Celtic music coming out of Brittany these days.

What are your future plans?
I'm very open minded ! Lots of concerts, a live, then a Moonweed album (more electronic than Tim Blake).

Thanks Tim for your patience, and good luck for the future. We at DPRP look forward to hearing more from you in the near future.


Further Tim Blake information can be obtained in the Forgotten Sons Section of DPRP, as well as from his own personal website.

 

 


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